Hajibal villagers complain of ‘ever locked’ health centre


‘Have to travel 21 kiolmetres for minor complaints’

Younis Dar

Baramulla: Residents of Hajibal village in Barmulla district are complaining of non-availability of staff at local health centre due to which they said they are suffering immensely.
The health centre is running from a rented room and caters to the village with a population of around 609 (census 2011).
The health centre has been rendered useless, according to locals, because of the habitual absence of the staff.
“With the ever locked dispensary, we are left with no option but to travel to Baramulla district hospital which is about 21 kilometers from the village, and which takes one and a half hour to reach if transport facility is available. If not then we have to reach hospital by foot and which takes almost three hours to reach,” Syed Imtiyaz, a resident of the village said.
“For a headache or even a fever we have to travel all the way to reach district hospital Baramulla,” he added.
Abdul Majeed, president of the village said, that the female staff members at the health centre were last seen one month back.
“From that day, no one opened the door of PHC,” he said.
Majeed added that a day before, a local resident suffered a minor heart pain, but due to non-availability of staff he had to be taken to district hospital “as we have no other option on the way to district hospital”.
Block Medical Officer Dr Farooq Sheikh told Kashmir Reader that the staff was sharing days with another health centre.
“We have designed a schedule under which the staffers attend their duties three days a week at Hajibal and three days at Drangbal, (2km from Baramulla). But we are likely to conduct a meeting in which we will solve this issue,” Dr Farooq said.
However, local residents contest the claim and allege that the staff is never available at the PHC, “not even for a day

https://kashmirreader.com/2018/04/14/hajibal-villagers-complain-of-ever-locked-health-centre/

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REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO

In Shopian, Doctors and Paramedical staff held a protest against the alleged indiscriminate firing by the armed forces inside the premises of sub-district hospital, Shopian.

The doctors said that the armed forces fired several rounds at the casualty block and the blood bank inside the hospital following a heated argument with a doctor who asked them to let them do their duty of treating the people injured in Sunday’s clashes.

The doctors and paramedics presented a memorandum to the DC over the incident. Before meeting the DC, the doctors and the paramedical staff held a sit-in outside the hospital.

 

The doctors say that they conveyed to the DC that forces resorted to unprovoked firing inside the hospital premises.

Many people have been injured after thirteen militants were killed in separate gunfights at Dragad and Kachdor villages of Shopian on Sunday.

One militant Rouf Bashir Khanday was killed and his associate Imran Rashid was arrested during an overnight gunfight at Brunty Dialgam in Anantnag district.

The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Yasin Malik on Sunday called for a Kashmir-wide shutdown. The shutdown call initially was for Sunday and Monday, but was later extended to Tuesday.

Four civilian youth were killed, while a dozen others were injured near the gunfight sites, and the clashes that followed.

 

(With inputs from CNS)

By Amnesty International India

On the 27th anniversary of the rapes of dozens of women in the towns of Kunan and Poshpora, Jammu and Kashmir, in 1991, allegedly by Indian army personnel, Asmita Basu, Programmes Director at Amnesty International India, said:

“For 27 years, the lack of accountability for the crimes committed in Kunan and Poshpora has been a festering injustice, and a chilling example of the impunity that surrounds human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Attempts at seeking justice and compensation for the survivors have been blocked by the Jammu and Kashmir state government, the central government and the Indian Army. Five of the victims have died waiting for justice.

“Authorities must ensure a thorough, impartial and effective investigation into the allegations. All suspects, including those with command responsibility, must be prosecuted in a civilian court.”

Previous investigations into the allegations have been ineffective. The J&K police declared that the case was ‘untraceable’ and stopped investigations in October 1991. To date, nobody has been charged or prosecuted in connection to the case.

In October 2011, the J&K State Human Rights Commission directed the state government to compensate victims and re-investigate the allegations. In June 2013, a court in Kupwara district directed the J&K police to investigate the long-standing allegations within three months.

When the investigations proved ineffective, five survivors filed a petition in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court in October 2013. The state government, central government and the Army have since filed multiple petitions in different courts, sometimes simultaneously, and secured temporary orders suspending investigations and the provision of compensation.

 https://amnesty.org.in/news-update/no-justice-yet-kunan-poshpora-rapes/

Image result for Munaza Gulzar kashmir activist Sarposh Management Service


 SRINAGAR: Activism in Kashmir has usually seen men at the forefront. Women — who are perhaps the biggest victims of the protracted conflict in the valley — have remained on the sidelines, treated as passive victims and confined to the four walls of their home.

In recent years, however, there has been a slow and gradual yet noticeable change, as brave young female voices have emerged from the patriarchal and conservative mindsets and raised their voice against the challenges and difficulties that make up the lives of people in the valley.

Munaza Gulzar: A post graduate gold medalist in social work from the University of Kashmir, Gulzar is a United Kingdom registered social worker. She deals with mental health & child issues with more than 15 years of experience in Kashmir and abroad. Gulzar has exclusively worked on mental health for 4 years. She has also worked for differently-abled people, and vulnerable women groups and their needs.

Munazah has worked in almost every district of the Kashmir region. Currently she runs her own mental health clinic in Srinagar under Sarposh Management Service.

“Activism to me is putting into action a fight against injustice and recognition of rights”, says Gulzar.

Gulzar shifted her career from journalism to social activism the moment she visited Kunan Poshpora rape victims. To her, listening to their narrative was a decisive factor in the shift in profession.

Asked how difficult it is to work in Kashmir, she said, “Conflict affects every aspect of our life. Be it the mental state or a choice of your profession, the regular sense of insecurity prevailing in the state is a very disturbing element”. “Conflict is a major insecurity tracking you all the time. It curbs your freedom making you unable to do justice to your work”, she added.

Kashmir lacks a joint forum for social and political activists. There is no proper process of registration by the system. Activists lack a common platform to speak out as everyone does it at an individual level.

Natasha Rather is a young human rights defender, who currently works as a researcher for the Jammu & Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS). She started her activism in 2014 and her work is centred on human rights abuses perpetrated by the Indian state in Kashmir.

Rather is one of the five authors of the book “Do You Remember Kunan Poshpora?” which was published as a part of Zubaan Series on ‘Sexual Violence and Impunity in South Asia’.

She has been a part of the campaign seeking justice for the survivors of Kunan Poshpora Mass Rape and Torture case. She is seeking justice for the Handwara girl who was allegedly molested by army personnel in Handwara in April 2016.

She has also helped pellet victims. In 2016, she along with her association ran a campaign against the use of pellet guns which led to blinding of 100s of young people in Kashmir.

She said, “Indian state’s displeasure and dislike for human rights issues to be discussed, curfews, restrictions, Gag on social media and communication, pose obstacles in my work”.

Ather Zia: The Citizen spoke to Ather Zia, a Kashmiri journalist who was formerly with the BBC and is currently an Assistant Professor in Anthropology and Gender Studies Department at University of Northern Colorado, Greeley. She works on militarization, gender, and enforced disappearances in Kashmir.

Asked how conflict poses challenge to the activists here, she said, “The obstacles one faces in a situation like Kashmir is the state surveillance, which impedes mobility, and gathering data”.

She defines an activist to be the one who raises a voice against injustice, and makes sure it is heard and is constantly engaged with the ground, pursuing the cause one has taken up.

A number of people came forward post 2010 and 2016 raising their voice not only on the ground but on social media platforms as well. Some people effortlessly create awareness in the form of poetry, prose and art.

Sabiya Dar joined the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) in 2008 when she was in her 12th standard. Dar says she finds a sense of purpose in helping half widows.

She said, “We face too many challenges from the state whenever we try to help them financially, legally, psychologically, medically or even educationally. Now we are used to it and have stopped reacting because we know we have been doing a great work. We feel the pain of the victims and hope for justice. At the end truth prevails”.

There are some individuals and organisations who have helped pellet victims but they want to remain anonymous. Several people told The Citizen that they face constant repercussions from the state and the army. They also said that they do not want these victims to face the wrath of the state, and hence, rather remain under the radar.

Zia, reacting to this reality, said, “Issues such as Human Rights violations are not palatable issue for the government. Many HR defenders prefer being unnamed since it helps them work in anonymity and without being unduly penalized by the state agencies, which can include routine harassment or even incarceration”.

Mehreen Zafar is advocate who works at the lower court in Srinagar and is associated with J&K Right to Information Act Movement. Zafar said that, “Kashmir is a conflict zone and work atmosphere is very difficult. Due to the presence of draconian Laws in the name of AFSPA & PSA, activism becomes more terrible. There is always a fear of getting arrested arbitrarily”.

Farrukh Faheem from the Institute of Kashmir Studies at Kashmir University said that the moment there is a human rights violation, people pour out on the streets to register their protest. They express themselves through graffiti and other means and those who narrate their stories at the cost of their lives and security are activists too.

To Faheem, categorizing an activist becomes difficult in a place like Kashmir which has a history of unrest and uncertainty. He says these new women emerging in Kashmir are indirectly testing the patriarchal norms as well.

Nadiya Shafi, 28, is a community correspondent for ‘Video Volunteers’ which is a media and human rights organization based in Goa. She also runs a few gender discussion clubs in Kashmir under the Dismantle Patriarchy campaign. She started her work in 2010 and has documented more than 200 cases of half-widows and has made more than 100 videos on different social issues.

Shafi has also given financial assistance to several pellet victims, along with her colleagues.

“Conflict has made us and our family vulnerable. It hinders our work. I am not only concerned about myself but also about the people whom I get to meet”, says Shafi.

She says that while documenting the cases of half-widows, she was being closely monitored by the state police and the forces for which her family had to send her to Delhi for a year.

“I was stopped several times in downtown Srinagar during the 2016 unrest. My equipment was confiscated and the footage was deleted,” she said.

She added,” You never know when you are called up by the armed forces. Working in conflict is overall a big challenge. We work under the shadow of guns”.

Facing all the challenges in an uncertain atmosphere, some new faces prefer to work silently while serving people irrespective of faith and belief. These activists have become the voice of the people, trying their best to bring about socio-political changes in the valley. After generations, women are no longer passive victims, but agents of change.

 Kashmir is bleeding, under fire


 The incidents of beating Kashmiri students in different institutions in India have been spreading like an epidemic. Every second day or so one hears about the students being roughed up in one or the other institution, in buses, in trains and so on. In fact, even some elder people returning in their own vehicles with their families through Punjab and Haryana have been manhandled by the local Police.

Thanks to some biased media channels, Kashmiris were turned into real “demons”! They were first labelled paid “Stone Pelters” and subsequently labelled “Stone Pelting Pakistani Terrorists”! Every stone pelter in Kashmir was made out to be a paid Pakistani terrorist. Stone pelting became a new form of terrorism.

The world’s second largest Army was given the task of eliminating these “Stone Pelting Terrorists” and they have been doing an excellent job. They are now shooting these so called “terrorists”like pigeons and ducks! There is not a single day when one or the other young stone pelter is killed in cold blood.

Kashmir has been practically bleeding! The depth of the anti-Kashmiri feeling can be judged from the statements of the Army Chief. He wishes the stone pelters had guns in their hands so that he could deal with them in a way he prefers! As if presently they are dealing with them very leniently!

In contrast, General Hooda and General Panang have always been giving very constructive suggestions for solving the problem in Kashmir. Incidentally, there is no history of any stone pelting mob being dealt in a way Kashmiris are being dealt in any other part of the country. In fact, some of the mobs in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have indulged in the worst type of violence yet no one has opened fire on them!

This demonizing of Kashmiris with a Pakistani touch suits the promoters of Hindutva ideology perfectly and it would be a great help in ushering in the Hindu Rashtra, which has been S.Golwalkar’s dream! However, the realization of that dream may be far off but there is an urgent task which needs to be finalized at all costs. That is the creation of Hindutva frenzy for the next Parliament election which may even be preponed?

The last election was won by showing the utopian dream of “Vikas” (Development) which has miserably failed. All those big slogans of “Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas” seem to have evaporated. Economy is in doldrums. On the day of the presentation of the budget in the Parliament, most of the markets crashed. Demonetization dealt a body blow to the poor people. It was topped up by GST and the digitization of the entire existence through the Aadhaar Card managed by the Silicon Valley in USA!

In view of this, the development slogans are not going to sell now. The only alternative is Karl Marx’s “Opium of the poor!” That is precisely the reason for the new Hindutva wave starting in Kasganj and many other places. The real show will begin with the starting of the construction of the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya!

In a recent video, even a DG of the Police was shown swearing that he will take part in the construction of the temple regardless of the fact that the case is still pending before the Supreme Court of India. The additional boost will be clashes across the Line of Control in Kashmir. The so called “Surgical Strikes” which may go beyond the surgical form.

Colonel Noel Elli wrote an article in the Citizen, titled, “May Day May Day, India Adrift”. The excerpts from the article sum up everything, “I am not a sailor but when I peep out of the Porthole, all I see is beti jalao not bachao, bus jalao not chalao, dukan aur makan jalao not banao, if nothing else is left then burn tyres and effigies of all and sundry. Nothing seems to be hunky dory on this voyage on a ship called India”. “Which way is India going? We can cause mayhem and destruction for a movie or a baba. Hold a city to ransom for reservations. Ignite communal violence for beef, throw petrol bombs on trains and blame it on hurting public sentiment. If I put it the other way around, are we not hurting the national sentiment? It is time for an SOS!”

(Mayday-MaydayIndia-Adrift)

Well, coming to our State the irony is that it is the Kashmir based part of the BJP coalition government which has been made totally impotent by the bear hug of the 56 inch chest! At least they could protest vehemently for all these excesses! Forget healing, they are virtually giving a bleeding wound every day. They should have thrown their hat in the ring long time back. Probably, they feel they have crossed the “Ghar Wapsi” threshold! In that case, God help them!

http://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/en/NewsDetail/index/4/12956/Stop-Demonizing-Kashmiris

An Indian paramilitary trooper stands guard in Srinagar on January 25 [Tauseef Mustafa/AFP]
An Indian paramilitary trooper stands guard in Srinagar on January 25 [Tauseef Mustafa/AFP]

Srinagar, Indian-administered Kashmir – India’s 69th Republic Day celebrations have been marked by a security clampdown in Indian-administered Kashmir, as authorities suspended internet services and thousands of soldiers patrolled the streets.

The main celebratory event was held amid tight security at a sports stadium in the region’s main city, Srinagar, and was attended by politicians and top officers of the security apparatus.

Residents, however, boycotted the ceremony.

The day is meant to remember when the Constitution of India came into effect on January 26, 1950.

Separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani said: “India has no right to celebrate Republic Day as it has occupied Jammu Kashmir with its military might.”

Geelani leads the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC), an amalgam of separatist leaderships in Kashmir. Separatists fight for independence or merging the region with Pakistan.

APHC said the day should be observed as a “black day” and called for a boycott of all celebrations.

“India claims to be world’s largest democracy but virtually stands exposed in Jammu Kashmir as it is trampling all basic and fundamental rights of people since past seven decades,” an APHC statement said.

The Indian flag was hoisted during the ceremony in the divided territory.

Authorities blocked internet and phone networks until Friday afternoon, as they do for Indian Independence Day and Republic Day celebrations as well.

Barricades were set up on all major roads of the city, as police carried out stop and search operations.

“For Indians, it might be a big day, but for us, we dread it. We don’t feel any belonging to it. This day brings a lot of harassment for common people,” said 35-year-old Fayaz Ahmad, a Srinagar resident.

“Yesterday I had a medical emergency, and I had to go to a hospital at night, we were stopped and frisked at dozen places. It does not happen with Indians,” he told Al Jazeera.

The region saw fresh bouts of violence last week, with casualties on both sides.

On the Indian controlled side, 12 people, including six civilians, were killed, increasing the hostilities between the two nuclear neighbours.

The start of the year has seen an uptick in violence.

On Thursday, in the southern village of Shopian, three people, including two rebels and a 17-year-old boy, were killed in a gun battle. Two girls were also critically wounded.

‘Not a day passes without someone killed’

Separatist leaders have asked residents to protest against the recent civilian killings after Friday prayers.

“We were sold to India, and they celebrate their existence on the day. Ask common people about the sufferings under Indian rule; not a single day passes without somebody being killed. This day only reminds us of zulum (oppression),” 62-year-old Abdul Majeed told Al Jazeera.

Anti-India sentiment runs deep among Kashmir’s mostly Muslim population, and most support the rebels’ cause against Indian rule, despite a decades-long military crackdown to fight dissent.

Rebel groups have been fighting since 1989 for the Indian-administered portion to become independent or merge with Pakistan.

Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown. India maintains roughly 500,000 soldiers in the territory.

Plight of Kashmiri Prisoners

Posted: November 30, 2017 in Uncategorized

kashmiri-prioners

V.R. Krishna Iyer (J) has rightly observed : “In our world prisons are still laboratories of torture, warehouses in which human commodities are sadistically kept and where spectrums of inmates range from drift-wood juveniles to heroic dissenters.

It is established that conviction for a crime does not reduce the person into a non-person, so he is entitled to all the rights, which are generally available to the non-prisoner. On the other hand, it cannot be denied that he is not entitled for any absolute right, which is available to a non-prisoner citizen but subject to some legal restrictions. The Supreme Court of United States as well as the Indian Supreme Court has  held that prisoner is a human being, a natural person and also a legal person. Being a prisoner he does not cease to be a human being, natural person or legal person. Conviction for a crime does not reduce the person into a non person, The courts which send offenders into prison, have an onerous duty to ensure that during detention, detenues have freedom from torture.  William Black has said “Prisons are built with stones of Law”. So, when human rights are harassed behind the bars, constitutional justice comes forward to uphold the law.The life of an offender cannot be jeopardized by indulging in illegal physical torture by the jail authorities.

In  Sanjay Sun v Delhi Administration, AIR 1988 SC 414, The Supreme Court was not happy with the attitude of prison authority and suggested that the prison authorities should change their attitudes towards prisoners and protect their human rights for the sake of humanity.

The Article 5 of the UDHR, states that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. There are words that crop up again. They mean severe beatings on the body and the soles of the feet with rubber hoses and truncheons, electronic shocks being run through the genitals and tongue, near-downing, hanging arms and legs, cigarette bums over the body, sleep deprivation or subjection to a high pitched noise and much more.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court has observed that “right to life is one of the basic human rights. Even when lodged in jail, he continues to enjoy all his fundamental rights including the right to life guaranteed to him under the Constitution. On being convicted of crime and deprived of their liberty in accordance with the procedure established by law, prisoners shall retain the residue of the constitutional rights. This right continues to be available to prisoners and those rights cannot be defeated by pleading the old and archaic defence of immunity in respect of sovereign acts which have been rejected several times by the Supreme Court”. State is liable for the death of undertrial who continues to enjoy all fundamental rights including right to life.

Thousands of Kashmiri prisoners languish in jails across many parts of India. youth are taken away as prisoners and lodged in various prisons throughout India. Kashmiri political prisoners, most of them according to family members have been implicated in false cases are presently in the jails of Rajasthan, Varanasi, Bengaluru, Gujarat and other jails of India.

Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights (JKCHR) submitted a document to Secretary General UN on the plight of Kashmiri prisoners held in Tihar jail New Delhi as UN General Assembly Document titled A/HRC/36/NGO/52 at the 36th session of Human Rights Council,

The document submitted under agenda item 3 of the 36th session of the Council which started its session in Geneva, pointed out that there are 19 Kashmiris have been serving life imprisonment in Tihar jail, New Delhi.

Mohammad Hussain Fazili who was  released in February 2017,after spending 12 years in jail, reported that they are forced to urinate in each other’s mouth.

Fazili said to media that “We were forced to drink urine and eat human waste along with bread. Rats were put in their trousers. As if it was not enough, he said, pigs were let loose to lick their mouth and face. At the same time, cops used to push water and bread into our mouth. We thought since we were Kashmiris and Muslims, it was the only reason for facing such torture.

Recently, The Joint Resistance Leadership had approached the JKSHR commission with a petition maintaining that the rights of Kashmiri prisoners were being violated in jails. The petition filed before the commission on November 3, this year, had sought instructions to restore the dignity of Kashmiri political prisoners languishing in different prisons.

In New Delhi’s Tihar Jail, the Kashmiri inmates are being even deprived of basic rights to survive and no medical treatment is being provided to them, nor are they being allowed to meet their kith and kin, the petition said. It said that Kathua Jail in Jammu had become a torture centre where Kashmiri inmates are deprived of human contact for many months. This amounts to punishment beyond prison time and it is inhuman, it added

According to Media Reports, On the night of November 21, a team of Tamil Nadu Special Police (TSP) allegedly beat up at least 18 inmates of Tihar Jail’s High Risk wards ‘C’ and ‘F’. The inmates sustained severe injuries. Many of the injured prisoners were Kashmiris serving detention in Tihar Jail, among them Shahid Yousuf, son of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin.

On 28th of Novemeber Advocate Syed Mujtaba , A Renowned Human Rights Defender on behalf of President lawyers club president Adv Babar Qadri , lodged the complaint in NHRC new delhi against the jail authorities of Tihar, the petitioners expressed serious concern about the miserable and inhuman treatmentmeted out to Kashmiri prisoners in tihar. In the petition , safety and security, proper health care was demanded to be ensured.

Therefore, the existing legal structure of the prisons administration has to be changed, Criminal law should be amended, a new Prisons Act should be enacted and all Jail Manuals need to be Reviewed and Revised. Most importantly Indian Judiciary must continue to play its constructive and active role in prison justice.

Author is A Human Rights defender from Kashmir and can be mailed at jaan.aalam@gmail.com

http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/11/29/plight-of-kashmiri-prisoners/


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